What is it?
The piccolo is a german instrument designed in 1830 by Theobald Boehm when he modified a flute to make it small.
A person that plays the piccolo it’s called a piccoloist.
Not to be confused with
You may hear about it with other names like fife (another instrument similar in shape but louder). Pronounced /ˈpɪkələʊ/, from the Italian meaning “small octave” and called flautín in Spanish and ottavino in Italy.
The instrument is from the Wind family meaning the sound comes by blowing air in a mouthpiece into a tube(resonator).
The piccolo itself is a variant of the transverse flute with the biggest difference being that it sounds one octave higher.
There’s also the key, the most common one being C but older models are in Db.
In terms of materials, the options are usually wood or plastic & metal. This particular one is commonly made of grenadilla or brass with some made in silver. The material has no effect on the sound (our article here) but it does in price and durability.
Before you buy
Getting a piccolo for sale? as a gift? If you do, here’s all you need to know.
The price of the instrument is around $77 – $1,100 USD, the cheapest we found was a Glory C piccolo with very low durability and the most expensive was a Pearl PFP105ES Granaditte with a silver plate.
In the middle we have something like the Ravel PICRGP202 plastic piccolo for $360 USD, you can search on amazon here or eBay here.
These brands (Pearl & Ravel) are a good start (not so much Glory), there’s also Mendini and Eastar just make sure they have a guarantee and shipping to your country, good reviews and if they don’t you can get them other ways.
The size goes around 12 x 5 x 3 In (30 x 13 x 8 Cm) – 14 x 5 x 3 In (35 x 13 x 8 Cm) and has a weight from 1 Lbs (0.5 Kgs)] to 2 Lbs (1 Kgs).
Now that you know, you can check on Ebay here.
There are a lot of accessories for example:
- Bag & Case: Bag for transportation and case for safety and transportation. If you don’t get one with your instrument check the sizes section to get a perfect one.
- Stand: there are generic stands that work for a variety of instruments so you don’t necessarily need the specific one
- Cleaning kit: a complete one should have brushes (short and extremely long), oil, microfiber, and germicide
How to learn the piccolo
We recommend learning to read sheet music, play notes and learn the tricks of playing songs.
For learning to read sheets we try a lot of resources to help you choose.
To learn to play all notes you need a finger chart (also known as position chart).
The tips & tricks are all the details that combined make a big difference.
They way you hold it, efficient warmups, positions and techniques.
Here are some book and courses with pros & cons:
- Playing Tips: Free Youtube playlist of various videos for beginners.
- Study Book: Paid book for a school-like experience.
- Sheet Music Solos: The paid book comes in different difficulty levels.
Remember, the piccolo is a little bit hard mostly for keeping the tune/pitch correctly, but once you get that the rest should be fast and easy. It’s also similar to the transverse flute and its variants in range and technique so you can combine those resources to help you learn, we hope this helps, we’ll keep working on this article.